By Robert Tapfumaneyi
THE Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ) says it has managed to distribute 90 000 condoms to its members this year alone.
On top of the condoms, GALZ said over 92 000 lubes were also distributed at the same time. Lubes are waterbased jelly that go hand in hand with lubricants to avoid friction during sex.
Between 2017 and 2018, the association said it has lost 21 members due to HIV and AIDS related illnesses.
GALZ said this following the World Aids Day commemorations December 1.
“The events saw a platform through which GALZ encouraged its membership to get tested and go for respective treatment modalities conterminously with behavioural change,” Sam Matsikure GALZ programs manager said.
“As a community, we still have a high HIV prevalence of 23.5% and 32.6% among men having sex with men (MSM) and women having sex with women (WSW) against a national prevalence of 13.9%.”
On the day, GALZ took the platform to award its outstanding peer educators in Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) programming.
Also honoured were HIV activist Martha Tholanah and Rev Maxwell Kapachawo, the first cleric to come out in open about his HIV positive status in the country.
“The team has managed to reach an estimated reach of 1028 members, 728 had been referred for HIV testing and counselling, 141 have been linked to prep and 31 linked to anti-retroviral therapy (ART),” said Matsikure.
“At least 92 700 lubes and 90 000 condoms have been distributed.
“Though progress has been made, the team emphasized individuals to take responsibility over their health under the motto ‘My Health My Responsibility’.
“We strive for a society that includes access to equal and non-discrimination treatment of its constituency.”
Recently, the GALZ leadership met with Members of Parliament from the ruling party Zanu PF and opposition MDC from the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health, sensitising them on structural barriers for LGBTI groups in accessing health services.